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Netflix is "looking at" offline viewing option (but don't get too excited)

By Shawn Knight ยท 12 replies
Nov 2, 2016
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  1. Netflix Director of Corporate Communications Cliff Edward said less than two years ago that offline viewing was “never going to happen.” Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, admitted in September 2015 that offline viewing was something that lots of people ask for but more or less said people would be too stupid to manage downloads.

    Has Netflix’s stance on the matter changed over the past year? It appears so.

    In a recent interview with CNBC, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that as they’ve launched in more territories, they’ve noticed that each have different levels of broadband speeds and Wi-Fi access. In those countries, he continued, citizens have adapted their behaviors to be much more of a downloading culture.

    In such areas, the idea of an offline mode becomes a little more interesting. As they continue to expand into the underdeveloped world and developing countries, they’ll want to find alternatives for people to use Netflix easily.

    When asked point blank if an offline mode will come to Netflix soon, Sarandos said they’re “looking at it now, so we’ll see when.”

    Based on Sarandos' comments, if Netflix were to roll out an offline mode that would let users download and view programming without an active Internet connection, it wouldn’t be offered in developed nations like the US.

    Image courtesy Eric Charbonneau, AP Images

    Permalink to story.

  2. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,807   +407

    There's really no need for it, so yea.. if you really want to download your content, for those people who are not "too stupid" they have already found a means to do so. Having Netflix is like.... a back up.
  3. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,001   +3,483

    Offline viewing and Internet Services usually don't mix. They could maybe let you download the show but they would have to limit the number of shows you can download.

    It seems like they are trying to solve a nonexistent problem. For people with internet connection you can just use regular netflix. If you lose connection unexpectedly, you won't be able to download the shows anyways.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Don't worry, I won't get excited. The last time Netflix did anything that excited me was... never.
  5. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    I can see them enabling offline content viewing for their original series. I know I would use it - click 'download' in the morning, binge when I got home from work. It would also let you watch higher res shows than perhaps you would normally have the bandwidth for, and save on data by allowing you to watch multiple times from the same download (because not everyone has unlimited data).
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Maniac Posts: 363   +246

    What this would allow you to do is, for example, download a couple of movies or episodes from a show to watch while you're on a cross-country or international flight, without having to rely on (potentially spotty) Wi-Fi in the airports or paying for Wi-Fi on the plane, as well as avoiding using up too much of your data plan.

    It'd be no different than what Amazon offers on their video service. My wife used that option when she flew out to a conference earlier this year, just downloaded some shows & movies to the Amazon Video app so that she didn't have to rely on Wi-Fi or our data plan (especially since 90% of the time while in-flight you're not in range of the cell towers anyway to use your data plan).
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +322

    I refuse to purchase Netflix. I have shelves of DVD's from EBAY. Any movie worth purchasing is worth keeping.

    If Netflix was serious, they'd create an app you could download videos to and the play back later when you're free to do so.

    This is because many teachers use Netflix in schools behind firewalls and with shoddy internet service and rely on it as an educational tool. When the net goes down, you can do nothing.

    How about people waiting in the airport for a flight? Why can't I download 3 or 4 videos to watch on the plane later?

    Meanwhile, if I spend just $5 I can buy the DVD and upload to my PC and watch when I feel like it.
  8. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,807   +407

    So it's likely to say, you'll never be watching "current" movies.
  9. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Maniac Posts: 363   +246

    Not necessarily. Netflix Streaming only gets new movies early if they have a deal with the distributor/copyright owner (I.e. their deal last year with Disney).

    However, what @Bigtruckseries might be missing is that, just like with Amazon Video, you're not buying the movies from Netflix, you're essentially paying a monthly fee for unlimited "rentals".

    For me, there are movies that I have to own, either because I've been waiting to see them or because I liked them in the theater, so I buy them as soon as they become available. There are also movies that I'll rent at first, & if I like them I'll go ahead & buy them afterwards. And then there are movies that are what my wife calls a "one-time watch". Maybe they weren't as interesting as we'd hoped, maybe the "plot twist" or "big reveal" that's integral to the story loses its effectiveness the more times you watch the movie. Or maybe the trailer/preview we saw made the movie seem a lot more interesting than it actually turned out to be. I would hate to spend $15-20 USD on a movie, just to realize afterwards that I didn't like it, & have to settle for maybe getting $3-5 back by selling it to Half Price Books. By the same token, Redbox kiosks can only hold so many movies, & their selection skews towards "new" releases ("new" sometimes including the previous movies in a series that just released its latest sequel, or one of those annoying "Just released from the Disney Vault for a limited time!! Act now now now!!!!" editions) & a lot of direct-to-video releases that mimic the new releases [Man, I miss the brick-and-mortar video stores -- not Blockbuster, but the other chains like Hollywood Video & Family Video or the independent stores. Hollywood Video is gone, & locally we don't have any other video stores close enough to justify the trip].

    That's what makes Netflix so economical. For the price of 6-7 Redbox rentals (3-4, if you get Blu-Rays), I can pick & watch hundreds to thousands of movies & shows, not only fairly new ones but also older ones that you can't find anywhere else. You don't want to know how long it took us to track down DVD versions of the Star Wars prequels to round out our Star Wars collection, or how long we've searched sometimes even at Half Price Books to find particular movies that we were interested in, but didn't have enough "buzz" for the local retail stores to carry them.

    And that also doesn't take into account TV shows. One of my wife's favorite shows that she watched this past summer was a Canadian show called "Heartland". Never heard of it before, because it was never carried on any US networks (at least none of the broadcast, but I doubt the cable networks were worried about it either). Not to mention being able to have access to "classic" shows that we like, like Firefly & Farscape, which are very hard to find (& in the case of Farscape, can get ridiculously expensive if you want to purchase them, since they were only sold in 2-episode packs; at 20+ episodes per season & 5 seasons total, plus the Peacekeeper Wars mini-series, that's a lot of DVD boxes to buy).

    So yeah, if you view Netflix as a replacement for actually owning DVDs, I can see why you'd be disappointed. But if you view it as an alternative to DVD rental, & you're the type of person that rents 2-3 movies or more each week, it becomes very economical.
  10. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +322

    I have over a thousand DVD videos. On top of that, because I have FIOS' every single channel package, I can watch HBO GO, Sho,Epix, etc on my mobile devices.

    My problem is, Netflix makes no sense if you can't watch videos from the Hard Drive at will. Otherwise, you become a slave to the buffer and internet connection.
  11. Drew Valadez

    Drew Valadez TS Booster Posts: 56   +33

    Yeah, but you're paying insane prices for that package. A Netflix subscription is like a drop in the bucket in comparison to what you are paying for movies alone. 1000 DVDs?
  12. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,807   +407

    Oh okay, I was just guessing by the comment of paying $5 for movies, that you were buying old/even some newish DVDs. I or old/older blurays. If you have other services, then oh yea, Okay! lol

    Edit: It sounds like Drew might have a point, though, I cant comment because I'm not aware of the prices for those packages. Wondering if this is something that would be worth it?
  13. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,807   +407

    All I was saying was that him paying $5 for movies, that he must have been buying older DVDs and Blurays. Maybe some newish DVDs. TLDR sorry, seems to be some unrelated info or unnecessary content in there, though, no offense.

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